2020 E-News Series on Researching your House:
Learning to Look at Architecture
Using the National Register to find your house history
Using the Census to Dig Deeper
If your home is in a national register district, there may be a description of your house history and style at:
on the Norwich Village Historic District Register or one of the other Norwich districts.
Establish the chain of titles at your town office
Begin with the deed for the current owners of the property and work your way back. Use the grantee index to establish the current owner. The index will provide you with a book and page where the actual deed is located. Write down complete descriptions of the property boundaries.
The Norwich Lister’s Records (1940s-1960s) provide detailed information about your house and many of the Lister cards have photographs–not all are digitized [we have more at NHS].
Find out more about who lived in your house
Census records may tell you who lived in the house, where they came from, how many children they had, the value of the home, etc. You do need a name and decade first!
https://familysearch.org/search/ or www.ancestry.com
You might also be able to learn more about your land if it was farmed from the agricultural census:
Norwich Agricultural Census: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
Look up previous owners in your town history—especially the earliest owners. Your local library or historical society will have this. Many have also been digitized in Google Books. Norwich’s town history is online here: A history of Norwich, Vermont
If you lose the chain of titles, try using a map to find out who lived on your land:
1856 Map of Windsor County, Vermont -Shows landowners
Windsor County 1869 Beers Atlas -Town maps listing residences and businesses
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1914 –just center village
Norwich 1940 map with home owners
Norwich 1959 map with home owners
Norwich 1963 map with home owners
Norwich 1973 map with home owners
Vermont Highway Maps can help
Early plotting plans can bring your back to the very first settlers.
What style is your home?
Look for old photographs and family stories at the historical society.
Look for photographs online at: http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/
All our street photos are online at flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/163741955@N05/collections/72157693481408911/
Look in our general collections catalog using keywords such as your street name or a family name.
Share your house history:
What’s the Story? How to Sleuth Your Home’s Past Lives
Some helpful books:
James Garvin, A Building History of Northern New England
Thomas Hubka, Big House, Little House, Backhouse Barn
Virginia Savage, McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses
Thomas Visser, Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings